Thursday, August 21st, 2008...3:22 am

10 Books to Read Before You Live

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I feel pretty guilty about taking an entire week to notice I’ve been tagged by Erin.  But then, it’s been quite a week, so I guess I’ll eventually forgive myself.

I dove into the assignment and came up with my ten before tracking back to see what the original troublemaker, Suzie, had listed. It’s interesting that the lists she instigated, the original AOL list, and my own list seem mostly to be staples of academic curricula. Though only the Thoreau book below was compulsory reading for me, they all tend to be books that are read during one’s formative years. Perhaps it simply exposes the sad truth that I’ve read nothing but pulp later in life, but these are all books I read prior to graduating high school — prior to really starting “life” — books that made the biggest impression on me and helped shape the David that was unleashed on the world.

In attempted chronological reading order:

  1. The Call of the Wild, Jack London
  2. Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkein (sure, that’s 3)
  3. Dune, Frank Herbert
  4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
  5. Walden, Henry David Thoreau
  6. Lord Jim, Joseph Conrad
  7. Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
  8. Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse
  9. Steal This Book, Abbie Hoffman
  10. Beautiful Losers, Leonard Cohen

Then, sadly, in college, I read almost nothing but science text books. And since college, because of the demands of my career, it’s been all techie books and the occasional pulp trash. College and career? Definitely stunted my growth, in a way.

Rather than pass on this “chain letter” to friends who may not even be aware of this blog, I’ll leave you with a link to Peter’s project, where book lists are the name of the game: Flashlight Worthy


  • … of course, I *could* have given you a courtesy warning that I was linking to you.. sorry bout that.

    Great list.. now that you say that, I think all but two books from my list were read first as a child. Interesting how books become part of you.

  • I love Stranger in a Strange Land and Ayn Rand too! :) I’m more of a Fountainhead person myself.

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